More about ticks

Life Cycle of a Tick

Tick life Cycle

Ticks need many other hosts before they land on your dog

Most ticks, like Ixodes (X-oh-dees, the blacklegged tick) take two years to complete the four stages of their lifecycles. From eggs to larva to nymphs to adults, the Ixodes tick's survival is dependent on different hosts along the way to provide a blood meal. Did you know the tick spends less time on you or your dog than on these other hosts?

Life cycle of a tick

Stage One - Eggs The adult female tick lays her eggs on the ground in the spring.

Stage Two - Larva The egg hatches into larva and finds its first wildlife hosts (usually a mouse or other small mammal). After a blood meal, the larva detaches and falls to the ground, where it lies dormant during the winter.

Stage Three - Nymphs Larva develop into nymphs and begin feeding again on a variety of hosts (mice, deer, humans, dogs) that may be infected with a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease.

Stage Four - Adults Feed on many different hosts, many of which in Lyme disease areas are infected with the Lyme bacteria organism. Ticks ultimately infect other hosts such as deer, humans and dogs.

Facts you may not know about Ixodes (the blacklegged tick)

  • Each female tick lays more than 2,000 eggs!
  • The tick must dine on blood from whatever host it can find
  • Ticks are called "vectors", which means they carry and transmit disease
  • Larvae have six legs but have eight by the time they are nymphs and adults
  • Adult ticks are the size of a sesame seed or smaller before feeding
  • Nymphs and adults transmit Lyme disease to dogs and humans
  • You and your dog are most likely to encounter ticks from April to November, when nymphs and adults begin feeding
  • You can only contract Lyme disease from ticks, not from dogs or other humans
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Lyme disease
has been
found in all 10
The threat of Lyme disease is probably greater in dogs than in humans
Dogs will often show no signs of Lyme disease


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